QUEEN OF THE JUNGLE
The sword of Cimshai
SWORD OF GIMSHAI
By JOSEPH W. MUSGRAVE
Alone, Bob Reilly would have been easy prey for those fierce marauding
Bambala tribesmen. Bat fate had sent him stumbling into the camp of
Sheena; the jungle-woman . . . Sheena— who already had written in
Bambala blood the great legend of the warrior-queen.
SHEENA lay ufimoving on the bed of
fragrant grasses, her hands clasped
behind her blonde head. A gentle
southeast wind blowing through the open
door of the tree house touched her with
caressing fingers, whispered of a jungle
long awake and busy.
But this morning the murmurous jungle
noises held no interest for Sheena. A feel-
ing of oppression and loneliness had
gripped her from the moment of her awak-
A dozen times since sun-up her pet ape,
Chim, had left his noisy pursuits in nearby
tree tops to peer worriedly in the door at a
mistress who would lie abed on such a won-
derful day. Similarly, in the clearing below,
the great elephant, Tamba, stirred restless-
ly, impatient and puzzled because the girl
he looked upon as his own private pet
hadn't appeared for the ceremony of swim-
ming, eating, and playing over which he
For the first time, though, her animal
friends weren't enough. The usual joy she
took in teasing, rough-housing and,lectur-
ing them was gone. Even the familiar, deep
cough of the powerful, black-mancd lion,
Sabor, coming at intervals from across the
river failed to excite Shcena. She had raised
Sabor from a cub, and though he would
wander away for days at a time, he always
came back, as he was doing this morning
after an eight-day prowl, to dog her foot-
steps for a time and cause trouble with the
other pets through his dangerous jealousy.
The jungle girl had probed without suc-
cess for some explanation of her depression.
She knew that black men often were sick
and for f a time she wondered if that could
be her trouble, though the only illness she
had ever known was the stomach ache from
eating loo enthusiastically of unripe fruit.
She had been laid up a few times with
hurts suffered hi life and death battles with
jungle beasts, but her feelings on those
occasions were totally different from the
way she felt now.
Sheena's hair was blonde and long, her
eyes a deep and startling blue, her full lips
as richly red as sunstruck rubies. Her skin
was tanned a soft, golden hue and she had
the, proud, lithe carriage of a truly beautiful
And yet actually Sheena had no under-
standing of beauty in the terms a civilized
woman thinks of it. Her body was pleasing
to her, yes, because in its firm, supple sleek-
ness and sculptored lines, she recognized
the same qualities she admired in the great
cats and the arrow-swift antelope.
But as to whether she was attractive to
men never entered her mind. That basic
feminine criterion of looks, the response of
the male, was a yardstick as yet unknown to
her, for up to now Sheena had never known
a man of her own kind.
When she was younger the indistinct
faces of a white man and woman some-
times had come to her in her dreams, faces
that were familiar and yet somehow beyond
the reach of her memory. Her earliest mem-
ories were of the Abamas, over whom the
old witch woman of the tribe. N'bid EU,
had predicted that Sheena would one day
rule. To prepare her for tint task, N'bid
Ela had taken her into the jungle and
brought her up apart from the black chil-
dren as though she were a high priestess in
training. But for many moons now, N'bid
Ela had been dead and a great, lost loneli-
ness grew in Sheena.
Formerly; there had been no blacks in
Sheena's section of the jungle, for the
Abamas lived fives suns to the south and
they continued to obey the dead witch-wom-
an's taboo against invading Sheena's priv-
acy. "She will come to you when she is
ready," N'bid Ela had said.
But five moons ago the warlike Bambala
had come suddenly from the north and-
settled near her. In her first encounter with
them, Sheena had barely escaped capture.
Since then, the blacks had made sporadic
attempts to hunt her down. Not wanting to
cause a tribal war, Sheena hadn't told the
Abamas of her trouble, and more recently
now, the Bambala had left her alone and
she had noticed that on one of those infre-
quent occasions when she encountered a
hunter, it was the black who turned and
BUT Sheena did not think of these things
now as she lay despondently on her
bed of grasses. She thought of little except
that life was no longer good and exciting.
In the clearing below the treehouse, the
elephant, Tamba, trumpeted impatiently for
her. Hardly had the ear-splitting noises of
his summons died away when her pet ape,
Chim, landed with a loud thump in the
door of the house, scampered across the
floor and thrust bis wizened, old-man's face
close to hers.
Chim chattered softly, sympathetically to
her at first. Then getting no response, he
fell silent, peered mor; intently with his
little button eyes. He turned away heart-
brokenly, making sad sounds in his throat
as he plodded toward the door.
"Oh, all right," Sheena muttered wear-
ily, "I'll get up if it will calm you wild
dingos down. By the red eyes of Gimshai,
why can't you and Tamba tend to your own
business for one day and leave me alone?"
The jungle girl spoke the rapid, musical
speech of the Abamas. At the sound of her
voice, Chim whirled, an almost human look
of delight wreathing his black little face.
He began to bound up and down like 1
rubber ball, chattering with wild anima-
Sheena stood up, smoothing and straight-
SWORD OF GIMSBAl
ening her leopard skin shotts and halter.
She took her sheathed knife from a wall
peg, belted it on. Then she picked up a full
quiver of arrows, fastened it and a bow so
they rested comfortably between her shoul-
derblades. She scowled at the ape, and then
with sudden animal quickness, she mim-
icked him exactly, even to the sound of his
The ape froze, his mouth open, his head
inclined forward so that he peered at her
like an old man looking over the top of his
glasses. Then shrieking with pleasure, he
turned and whipped through the door, as if
meaning to tell Tamba, the elephant, of the
Shccna came out on the small platform
which served as a porch for the treehouse.
Two purple and gold virini birds whirred
upward from a nearby branch to the harsh
scolding of a parrot. Ten yards away in a
great slanting column of sunlight, a cloud
of butterflies wheeled in an endless, dizzy-
The jungle girl looked down through the
gently swaying pattern of branches to where
Tamba, with ponderous solemnity, was
scratching his tough hide against a tree. At
the edge of the platform lay a coiled length
of liana, one end of which was tied to a
With a sigh, Sheena nudged the rope
into space with her foot. She leaned over,
caught the vine with her hands, and swung
off the platform. The swift, sure agility
with which she shinnied down the liana be-
spoke an unusual strength for a woman.
As her feet touched the ground, the ele-
phant was waiting for her. Tamba looked
down at her from his great height, shifting
his ears like mammoth fans. Then he
snaked his trunk about her, and lifting her,
swung toward the river twenty yards away.
"No, no, Tamba," she protested irritably.
"Let me down. I don't want to go swim-
ming this morning."
The bull was at the edge of the water
before he realized Sheena was in earnest.
He set her down, peered at her with the
remarkably intelligent eyes of his kind,
seemingly trying to discover what was
His look gave Sheena a twinge of con-
science, and trying to hide that fact even
from herself, she turned away, stared^ stiffly
downstream. She immediately gave an exas-
perated grunt. Her glance had lighted on a
heavy, black-maned figure carefully work-
ing its way over the river by using a low
Hmb as a bridge. It was Sabor, the lion,
coming to make more trouble for her.
"I'm not going to pat up with it," she
said fiercely. "What do these animals think
I am, a slave?"
With a toss of her chin, she started across
the clearing toward the jungle. She heard
Tamba shift his feet, knew he was consid-
ering following her. Off to her right, Chim
came somersaulting out of a tree, landed on
his feet and scampered to tttch her.
"Leave me alone!" she cried. And sud-
denly she was running, fleeing from her
animal friends as though devils pursued
She sped into the cloaking green under-
brush, careless of the branches lashing at
her. She ran on and on, halting only when
her breath began coming in hard gasps.
When she stopped and collected herself,
she felt foolish and ashamed. She shook
her blonde head, a momentary wetness in
her eyes. What was wrong with her? Had
she somehow caught the strange madness
which sometimes came upon animals, driv-
ing them off to live in the bush alone,
nursing a crazed anger against the whole
SHEENA glanced around to get her bear-
ings. She hadn't paid any heed to the
course she was taking and was surprised
now to find how far outside her usual hunt-
ing ground she had gone. Though there
certainly never had been any agreement
made between them, there was a vague line
of demarcation between her own range and
that of the Bambala. The blacks them-
selves had more or less drawn the imagin-
ary line in the past few months and seldom
penetrated beyond it.
Ordinarily, Sheena would have turned
back immediately to the safety of her own
lands, but in her mood today she didn't care
about danger or anything else. She sat down
heavily on a fallen tree and put her head
in her hands.
The sun crept to nearly midway in the
sky before the jungle girl finaHy got up. A
nunger pain knifed through her, reminding
her she hadn't eaten that day. She was stil!
standing indecisively, when an errant breeze
brought her the scent of ripening fruit.
In her life in the jungle, her sense of
smell had become almost as keen as an ani-
mal's. She went straight to the stand of
trees, heavy with large blue-skinned plums.
When the taste of the plums palled, she
wandered on to some nut trees and finally
topped off her effortless meal with a yellow
Just as she threw away the pear core,
Sheena heard a distant, echoing roar like a
small blast of thunder. The sound was a
completely new one to her and she listened,
frowning. Then twice more the muted thun-
der came, seeming to roll close along the
Abruptly, all about her the jungle was
listening. The small rustlings in the under-
brush, so faint and continuous that one grew
almost oblivious of them, suddenly stilled.
The harsh voices of the parrots, the trilling,
liquid notes of the song birds ceased in one
velvet clap of silence.
The forest listened, weighing the danger
in the alien sound. Then as the noise blasted
thrice again and still nothing happened,
like a music box slowly beginning to play,
the activity of the little creatures resumed.
The strange thunder was ignored and then
forgotten by each animal or fowl the mo-
ment it decided it personally wasn't threat-
But because of that odd, restless quirk
in the human mind, call it a thirst for
knowledge, or insatiable curiosity, or a plain
contrary urge to meddle, Sheena reacted
quite differently from the jungle animals.
What did this new and different sound
mean? What caused it? Could it be there
was something in the jungle she didn't know
Eyes bright with interest, Sheena began
, running in the direction of the continuing
blasts of noise. She moved with an ante-
lope's grace, seeming to pick the quickest
and easiest path by instinct. There was no
resemblance between the flashing drive of
her long, beautifully modeled legs and that
knock-kneed, ridiculously aimless attempt
of a civilized woman to run.
In a matter of minutes, she came to a
broad trail burrowing like a dimly-lit tun-
nel .through the choking growth of trees,
shrubs and vines. It was one of the ancient
elephant tracks which serve as the highways
of Africa. The echoing blasts were very
close now and coming rapidly closer to her.
She started to step out on the trail, but
her ears picked up the sound of pounding
feet. She drew back out of sight, and sens-
ing for the first time that she might be
running headlong into danger, she leaped
high, caught a limb and drew herself up
into a tree. She found a perch in the middle
branches, where she commanded a clear
view of the trail but would be hidden from
sight herself so long as she lay flat in a nest
A dark figure sprinted around a far
curve in the path. A second later, two more
runners burst into view. Then a whole clot
of jostling, clawing bodies was pouring
around the turn.
Sheena' s eyes narrowed, her body sudden-
ly taut. As the blacks swept closer along the
shadowed dimness of the trail, she realized
they were strange tribesmen, not the Bam-
bala, her enemies. They were obviously
terror-stricken, each man fighting to get
ahead of the others.
None of them had the look of warriors,
though the three men in the lead were ■
armed with spears and shields. Most of the
natives had heavy packs strapped on their
backs, and as they ran, they were tearing
free of the carrying straps and letting the
packs shatter on the ground. Out of sight
around the turn, the explosions were sound-
ing sharper and clearer now, each blast
shocking the fleeing natives to greater speed.
Sheena couldn't imagine what horror the
panting, straining natives fled from. Then,
abruptly, when the stampeding blacks were
no more than a short spear throw away,
from both sides of the trail erupted the
dread Bambala war cry, "Bibalo Aka
That frenzied cry repeated over and over
with hysterical shrillness brought back to
Sheena in a rush of memory that grim morn-
ing when they first tried to capture her.
swarming out of ambush, a hundred jackals
against one unwarned woman. But in her
they had met a raging, te.uing leopard in-
stead of a fear-stricken victim. And on tint
S WORD OF GIMSBAl
day Sheena hid killed for the first time, had
written in Bambala blood the first lines of
the legend of the warrior-queen which
month to month from that time on was to
grow more fabulous.
"Blood for N'Koto!" Blood for the evfl
god of the Bambala! Blood for that hideous,
swollen idol before which the Bambala
groveled and prayed before they went out
to hunt down innocent, helpless victims.
Sheena snarled like an angry cat, ber lips
shearing back to reveal bared teeth. Out
of the underbrush along the trail, the Bam-
bala swept in two great waves. The ambush
had been perfectly planned. At point-blank
range they hammered their spears into their
prey, and then ripping free their swords,
they charged in to complete their grisly
As the painted warriors fell upon the
terrorized bearers, Sheena's hand darted to
her bow. All thought of her own safety
was gone. Rage, red and flaming, seared
over her. It was but the work of a moment
to tug loose the slip-knot securing the bow
across her shoulders.
With the flashing speed that comes from
long practice, she snapped the bow-string
taut. She leaped upright on the limb, as per-
fectly balanced as though her feet rested on
solid ground. With nerveless precision, the
jungle girl began feeding arrows into the.
tightly packed attackers.
A Bambala warrior threw up his arms,
and screaming, dropped to his knees. An-
other pitched forward and was trampled
underfoot. Two more collapsed suddenly
like puppets whose strings have been cut.
The fifth bent double, an arrow hammered
completely through his middle, and began
to run in circles like a dog with his tail on
Sheena had concentrated her fire on the
Bambala nearest to her, those blocking the
flight of the bearers. When she knocked
those five men out of the uneven battle, it
was like stabbing a knife into a waterfilled
bladder. The crazed bearers who had sur-
vived the initial onslaught came spurting
through the opening she had created. In a
blind, heedless stampede they drove out of
the trap and flung off at all angles into the
The mass of Bambala splintered apart,
groups of three to five waniois taking out
after each of the frightened humaa rabbits.
The attackers were raging more wildly than
ever, now that an easy shujg&ter had turned
into a difficult chase.
But the warriors nearest those men drop-
ped by Sheena's arrows didn't join the
pursuit. Some of them bad seen the arrows
rip into their fellows, and jabbering ex-
citedly, they pointed out to the others that
the attack had come from a new, hidden
Then one of them, considering the angle
at which the arrows had struck, suddenly
spotted Sheena standing wide-legged high
up on a swaying limb. He slabbed his finger
at the slim, white figure outlined against
the deep green leaves.
"Tioto Nomi!" he cried. *"The Forest
A low, hoarse, shivering sound, like the
rush of wind through a deep gorge, broke
from the Bambala. There was fear in that
sound, and hatred, too. This was the woman
they had hunted innumer-able times without
success. For all their numbers, jdl their
weapons, all their wiles, she made fools of
Clearly, no mere woman would be able
to outwit warriors. And there were other
things that showed she was no ordinary
flesh and blood human. For instance, hadn't
she been seen talking with fierce jungle
beasts, or hunting and playing with them.
She had demonstrated that she was immune
to the curses and spells of the witchdoctors,
to the proven juju which would wither and
kill a black man in a matter of days.
And yet at the same time, many happen-
ings in the Bambala kraal, such as the un-
seasonal windstorm two moons ago which
tore off the roofs of half the huts or the
strange overnight invasion of snakes after
the last rain, could only be attributed to
the evil magic of someone like the Forest
Woman. Surely, she was the spawn of de-
mons, endowed with a powerful personal
juju, else the jungle devils themselves
would long ago have devoured her.
Fear does different things to different
men. Most of the warriors were momentarily
paralyzed, stunned by the knowledge that
Sheena for the first time openly had invaded
their lands and attacked them. But one squat.
bull-chested native was galvanized into
"Save yourselves!" he screeched. "Strike
before she kills us!"
He tugged a spear from the body of one
of the murdered bearers, his eyes distended,
his mouth a rubbery, gaping hole. He ran
forward two steps, hefting the spear for
SHEENA'S arrow took the spearman in
the throat, threw him flopping backward
like a beheaded chicken. But the man's
action broke the spell which held the other
Bambala. They went scrambling for spears
among the dead bearers.
Swift as she was, there wasn't time for
Sliccna to escape, and against a massed spear
attack her bow couldn't save her. Too late
she realized her deep-seated hatred of the
B.tmbala had betrayed her into fatal reck-
Then, at that moment, as death reached
for her, three men came fast around the
far turn of the trail behind the warriors.
Two of them were husky blacks wearing
faded khaki shorts. They clutched rifles in
their big hands, nearly empty cartridge belts
slapping their waists as they ran.
The third man was white, a tall, broad-
shouldered fellow with the driving, high-
stepping gait of a football fullback. A rifle
was gripped in his hands, a pistol belted
about his lean middle. He was hatless, his
black hair tangled and unruly. And though
strain and fatigue lined his square-jawed
face, giving him at first glance a deceptive
look of maturity, a more searching inspec-
tion told that he was in his very early
The two blacks faltered, broke stride,
when they saw the Bambala milling among
tiie dead and dying bearers. Both of them,
eyes suddenly gleaming white; cast fearful
glances over their shoulders. The white
man's voice lashed them, drove them on a
few slowing steps further. But the same
panic that had overtaken the bearers was
fountaining up in the two guards.
As though invisible ropes had snared
them, the guards stopped, making futile
little turns and twists without ever actually
stirring from their tracks. The white man's
-voice whipped them again, angry urgency
One of them shook his head violently,
saying he wouldn't charge the Bambala.
The other gave no sign he even heard. For
a desperate moment the white man hesitated,
then his mouth twisting bitterly, he plunged
forward alone, triggering his rifle from hip-
level as he ran.
His shouts to the guards had jerked the
Bambala warriors' attention away from
Shecna. They gave cry like a dog pack when
they saw the three new victims. Two of
them, spears lifting high, leaped to meet
the oncoming white.
Then the white man's rifle was bucking
and jolting in his rigidly straining hands.
At that- range even unaimed shots couldn't
miss. The crash of the explosions echoed
and reechoed, sound piling on sound, in
the cavern-like trail.
One of the charging spearmen seemed
to run into a stone wall. In mid-stride he
slammed against the unseen barrier, went
reeling backwards in a twisting fall. By the
time he hit the ground, two more men in
the cluster of natives behind him were going
down and a third was screaming with a
These were tough, hard-bitten warriors,
but this was their first experience in facing
gunfire. That terrible roaring firestick was
as awesome as a herd of charging elephants.
Fearful magic was in a weapon which in
some unexplained way spat death through
And the best measure of the firestick's
magic was the way the lone white man ran
straight at them. Only a man who knew
he couldn't lose would fling himself against
overwhelming odds. Aye, flesh and blood
couldn't combat the magic of that firestick.
The Bambala didn't guess the colossal
bluff the white man was running on them.
It took iron courage to drive at those
blacks, triggering the last of his rifle cart-
ridges, realizing he was finished if they
didn't break before he reached them.
It wasn't lunatic bravery that dictated his
action. The jungle behind him was alive
with Bambala. The main force had attacked
his safari from the rear, overwhelming over
half the bearers before he could bring his
SWORD OF GIMSHA1
gaos into play, stampeding the rest . into
this second ambush. He knew he wouldn't
have a chance against the jungle-wise blacks
if he turned on into the underbrush. The
trail ahead offered the only avenue of flight.
He had seen in the first moments of
battle that the warriors were gunshy. By
fighting a fierce rexguard action, he and
the two armed blacks had tried to buy time
for the bearers to escape. But when their
ammunition ran low, they, too, had been
forced to run for it.
Thinking of their nearly empty rifles,
the guards' nerves had broken when they
rounded the turn and saw their retreat cut
off. The white man had gritted his teeth and
plowed on. He had kept his wits enough
to realize that a bold front might panic the
small group of natives blocking the path.
And if his bluff failed?
Well, he would only be dying a few
seconds sooner than the two fear-stricken
But his bluff didn't fail. Like jackals
charged by a lion f the Bambala suddenly
took to their heels. In a trampling rush,
they headed into the underbrush, leaving
the path clear.
Sheena stood frozen on the limb above
the' trail. She was as startled by that thunder-
ing firestick as the natives, but she was even
more stunned by the fact that the firestick's
master was white-skinned. She didn't fear
him. After all, he had saved her life. His
reckless charge had turned the Bambala
spears away from her in the nick of
It didn't occur to her that he could be
anything but a friend and ally. She judged
men by the only.rulestick she knew, the
ways of the animal world. Among the jungle
creatures, like ran with like, instinctively
sharing the same hatreds, hungers, and
Early in life, Sheena reluctantly had
concluded that she was a creature alone,
doomed to spend her days without ever
knowing the company of others like herself.
And now suddenly, unbelievably, she was
seeing one of her own people — a male of
her own kind!
That he was a male, she had no doubt.
His square-jawed face, his broad shoulders,
deep chest and lean hips, his deep voice
and wild, fierce manner of fighting, all
bespoke his maleness.
He braked to a stop almost directly be-
neath her, and swung about, hands busy
with the firestick. The thing that had
stopped the white man was the hideous
upthrust of Bambala cries on the trail be-
hind him. As he turned, fumbling in haste
to jam the last of his cartridges into the
rifle, he saw black warriors pouring around
the turn and washing out of the jungle on
both sides of the two . guards who had
lagged behind him.
He jerked the rifle up, slammed five
deliberate shots into the swarming mass. But
a score of marksmen couldn't have saved
the two men. The Bambala were on them
like lusting beasts, literally tearing the"
guards to pieces with their hands.
As the clawing, screaming mass closed
over the two, the white man's finger auto-
matically kept working the trigger. But the
five shells had been his last and the ham-
mer snapped futilely against an empty
chamber. When he finally realized what he
was doing, his^ right hand snaked for his
pistol, his clean-cut face gone white with
anger under his deep tan.
Then with the pistol hatf out of its
holster, he came to his senses, realizing the"
uselessness of trying to challenge that over-
whelming force. He spun abruptly, and
still gripping the empty rifle, went pound-
ing down the trail.
His action broke the spell which had
held Sheena motionless. She had seen
him feed five glittering metal tubes into
the firestick, had heard it spit thunder five
times and then emit only empty clicks. The
five ejected cartridges lay on the trail where
he had stood. Her quick mind fitted these
facts together and suddenly she realized the
firestick's magic was used up.
The Bambala, already staffing the pursuit,
soon would also realize the gun's magic
was exhausted. And once the caution en-
gendered by their fear of that gun was
gone, they would make short work of the
"Oh, no!" exclaimed Sheena aloud. "I
can't let them get him!"
With flying fingers, she dropped the
arrow she held back into the quiver, secured
the bow on her back. Then with the sure
Agility of one of the tree people themselves,
She started through the middle branches.
It was through this trick of tree travel
hat she had so many times mystified the
3ambala, apparently vanishing into thin
^ir just when they thought they had her
homered. As a lonesome child, she had
begun imitating the monkeys and apes as
strictly a matter of play, and through endless
practice gradually she had become breath-
takingly expert at aerial acrobatics.
In pursuing the white man, Sheena
veered off to the left through the jungle,
remembering that the trail made a leisurely
arc. Despite his considerable lead on her,
she would be able to intercept him by mak-
ing the shortcut.
When she reached her destination, she
saw him a hundred yards away, coming
fast towards her. The Bambala weren't in
sight yet, but the clearness with which their
chilling cries could be heard told that they
weren't far behind.
Sheena gripped a dangling length of
liana, balanced to swing down onto the
trail. And then, with the actual moment
of meeting this strange male at hand, an
overpowering shyness gripped the jungle
girl. She became aware of the rapid pound
of her heart, the swift rise and fail of her
breast. And in her legs and the pit of her
stomach, she had an odd, quaky feeling.
She hesitated, bewildered by these new
and utterly unexpected sensations. Then
angrily, she told herself, "You fool, don't
cling in this tree like a frightened lizard
while death races up on that brave man."
And with that, she leaped clear of the
limb, went swinging down onto the trail.
Just before her feet touched the ground, she
turned loose of the vine and hit running.
As the man saw a figure hurtle out of
the tree, he came to a sliding stop, tearing
his pistol from its holster. His eyes flew
wide as Sheena hit the trail, took three long
ruouing steps and halted, facing him. His
gun arm seemed to wilt, slowly dropping
back to his side.
"Good lord!" he said quite audibly. "A
Sheena heard his startled exclamation,
and though she didn't understand the words,
the sound of his voice was pleasant to her.
She saw too that her appearance had greatly
confused and upset him. She couldn't know
■that in addition to his shock at finding a
white girl in the midst of nowhere, he was
suddenly frantic with the thought that the
responsibility for her life was being placed
in his hands when he couldn't hope to take
care of himself.
His face was tragic as he stared at her
fresh, young beauty. In his mental turmoil,
details such as her unusual dress or the
odd manner in which sha had appeared
didn't immediately make an impression on
him. His mind was too filled with the horror
of the Bambala attack for him to think
logically. She was the most beautiful girl
he had ever seen and it sickened him to
realize he was helpless to protect her from
the murderous blacks.
Then the girl was beckoning to him, dire
urgency in her gestures. He dropped the
pistol back into his holster. He saw by her
manner that she was thoroughly aware of
the pursuing blacks, but she didn't show
the least sign of fear. He tried to frame
what he should say to her, wondering
whether to tell her right out how scant were
their chances or whether to lull her with a
false sense of security.
But before he could speak, she tan for-
ward impatiently and caught him by the
hand. For the merest instant, her blue eyes
stared directly into his gray ones, seeming
in their electric intensity to search deep
within him. She turned then, and gripping
his hand with surprising strength, tugged
him into a run.
She kept a step ahead of him and he
could no longer escape seeing the bow and
quiver of arrows tied across her shoulders.
He frowned, his mind struggling sluggishly
with the fact that- the bow was polished by
long usage, the primitive doeskin quiver
worn with much handling. His glance went
to the long knife riding the curve of her
hip, noted that the ivory handle was shaped
for a woman's grip instead of a black
warrior's broad, thick fingers.
And abruptly, a host of disturbing details
about her began to drop into place. He felt
again the strength of her grip, watched
the supple play of firm muscles beneath
her velvety skin, saw the golden tan which
covered her body. He noticed her leopard
skin clothing, which though worked to a
SWORD OF GIMSHAl
beautiful softness, was yet crudely cut and
sewn. Her feet were bare and she wore not
■ a single ornament.
From the first few steps he took in follow-
ing her, he could sense she wasn't leading
him iff blind flight. There was a confidence
in her movements that assured him she had
a definite plan figured out. This wasn't
what he had expected at all. Instead of
being a frightened woman seeking protec-
tion, she had taken calm command of their
She led him some fifty yards down the
elephant track and then swerved to the
right into what appeared to the white man
an impenetrable wall of vegetation. But
she wriggled with sure speed through the
vine-choked bush, twisting and turning right
and left as if by instinct to find clearance.
Twenty paces off the main trail he already
had lost all sense of direction.
He abruptly realized the going was easier
and found that she had brought them to a
tiny, winding game path. She turned loose
of his hand- and began to sprint along the
narrow way like a running doe.
BRANCHES slashed at his face, caught
at his rifle as he tried to keep up with
her. Bushes gripped his legs, roots snared
his booted feet. He felt like a blind bull
threshing through the jungle, growing angry
with himself as he saw how easily she
threaded through the undergrowth ahead
He strained to the outermost limits of his
strength to stay up with her. Sweat poured
from him in a drenching flood. His legs
grew unsteady and his straining lungs ached
with effort. And to add to his humiliation in
being unable to match the girl, he finally
stumbled over the roots of a baobab tree
and fell sprawling full length in the path.
With the breath knocked out of him, he
was too weak for a moment even to get to
hi$ knees again. When he raised his head,
he saw the blonde girl had turned back
and was staring at him, a questioning look
on her face,
"I'm all right," he growled sheepishly.
"Blasted, clumsy boots are hard to run in."
She cocked her head at his words, but
didn't say anything. He realized she hadn't
spoken a single time, and suddenly wonder-
ed why. He heaved to his feet and managed
a grin. He didn't want her to think him
His weak grin immediately brought an
answering smde from her. She gestured to
him to get started, and as if to reinforce
her warning that he must keep running, the
savage howls of their pursuers rose along
their backtrail. He saw how swiftly the
sound of the pack erased her smile and
knew the Bambala were dangerously close.
His own features sobered. "Go on," he
said, motioning her ahead. "You mustn't
lag back because I'm so damnably slow. By
yourself you can outrun them for sure.
Forget about me and let me make out for
Sheena studied him thoughtfully, puzzling
out his meaning. Then setting her lips firm-
ly, she marched forward and caught him
by the arm. It was obvious she had no
intention of leaving him.
"Ohhh," he said despairingly, "all right,
I'll go. You'd sta.nd here until they ran
over us. But you're being plain foolish."
She started off again, this-timc adjusting
her pace to his ability to stay up with her.
It angered him to realize this, to appear
a flabby weakling in her eyes, and he drove
himself unmercifully in an effort to crowd
her, but always she kept the same distance
ahead of him, seeming to float effortlessly
along the difficult path.
He did his best, but it wasn't good
enough. The measure of his inadequacy
was the growing speed with which the ■
Bambala began, to overtake them. But lack-
ing Sheena's animal-keen hearing, he didn't
realize how desperately close a handful of
the swifter blacks had come behind them.
Sheena knew that these warriors, the best
runners of the tribe, had long since out-
distanced the pack. Only the confused
winding of the path concealed them from
view; otherwise, they would have been in
easy arrow range.
■ She had doubled back onto the trail she
had followed in first entering the Bambala
area, hoping that once she crossed the
vaguely defined border between her lands
and theirs that they would abandon the
chase. But she had failed to take into con-
sideration the whke man's difficulty in fol-
lowing her through the bush.
Because of his slowness, the blacks had
cut away theic lead. The Bambala could
tell from the white man's spoor that he
was staggering with exhaustion. With' their
prey almost in their grasp, the frenzy of the
chase submerged their hazy fears of Sheena.
They plunged across the border without
hesitation, confident they could make a
quick and easy kill and get back to their
own lands before any harm could come
When the warriors failed lo turn back,
a sudden chill touched Sheena's heart. The
man was doomed. Despite all she could do,
this black-haired, fair-skinned male of her
own kind would be slain.
It would still be an easy matter for her
to get away from the Bambala. But all her
jungle cunning was useless to help this man.
She heard him reel and clutch at a tree for
She stopped, turned back. His head was
dropped forward on his chest, his face
contorted with the struggle to breathe. He
sagged against the tree for a moment,
looking as though his legs were going to
give under him. Then through the wetness
of his shirt she saw his back and shoulder
muscles tense and he shoved himself away
from the tree, came weaving toward her.
She sensed the effort of will behind that
Her blue eyes were dark with the decision
she made. She put out her arms and halted
him. He swayed under the suddenness of
Then slowly she stepped away from him,
staring bleakly along the way the Bambala
would come. He wheeled about, watching
her as she reached for her bow.
Abruptly, understanding came to him.
This strange, magnificent girl, rather than
abandon him to his fate, was preparing to
face their pursuers with no other weapon
than her primitive bow.
The hoarse protest that burst from his
lips was drowned by a lion's ear-splitting
roar. Before his amazed eyes, a huge, black-
maned lion burst from a stand of shoulder-
high grass to crouch facing them in the
path. The beast was a giant of his kind, a
stcel-thewcd male in his very prime, his
narrowed, yellow eyes blazing with dead-
For the merest fraction of time, the white
man was shocked into immobility. It was
as though a searing electric current stabbed
into him from die cat's yellow eyes. Then
with a wild, warning yell to the girl, his
right hand dove for his pistol.
"DOB knew as he went for the gun how
-*-* small a chance he had of stopping the
lion. But his instinct was to protect the girl,
and if nothing else, the shots would draw
the brute's charge to him.
Suddenly, bewilderingly, then, the blonde
girl plunged at him, fought his hand away
from the pistol. A part of his mind dazedly
registered the fact that she was screaming
at him in the Abama tongue, not English.
He understood the words easily for he had
just come from a long stay with the
Nubutus, blood cousins of the Abamas,
who lived a month's trek to the west.
"No, no!" she said. "Don't harm Sabor!
He's my friend! I can control him."
He thought cither he had gone crazy or
he was dreaming the granddaddy of all
nightmares. Over the girl's shoulder ne
could see the cat slink forward in slow,
crouching steps, the unblinking eyes riveted
on his face. The realization came to him that
the lion was making no effort to charge
the easy target made by the girl's back, but
was holding back, waiting with coiled
muscles for her to move out of the way.
He was the one the Hon was after, not
The girl had wrestled him back against
a tree. It was suddenly all too much for the
confused, bone-weary man. He quit strug-
gling for the gun, sagged back against the
rough bark. At that moment, he no longer
cared whether he lived or died.
As soon as he relaxed, the girl spun
around to face die blackmaned cat. Keeping
between tfie man and the slowly approach-
ing beast, she began to talk in a calm, firm
voice. The lion's ears shifted lo catch her
words, and after an interval, his glance
flicked from the man to the girl.
When she had the cat looking at her,
Sheena went up to him. The lion allowed
her to stroke him, the decp-throated snarls
changing in tone, becoming complaining
SWORD OF GIMSHAI
rather thin chilling. She scratched him be-
hind an ear, slid her arm about his neck,
and with gradual pressure, turned the giant
cat completely about on the trail
Still keeping her arm around the brute's
shaggy mane, she began to walk, leading
him away from the man. Before she had
gone five steps, the first of the pursuing
blacks burst into view on the trail. The
warrior rounded a turn at a terrific pace.
The native had abandoned his spear to
achieve greater speed, feeling his sword
and bow were weapons enough to handle
the two whites. He leaned forward as he
ran, arms pumping, eyes glued to the trail.
Sheeru stabbed a hand toward the war-
rior, pygmy words spilling from her lips.
The huge lion beside her stiffened, his great
head lifting. Abruptly, the cat's tail lashed,
a tremendous roar smashed from his throat.
Then with the blinding speed of a thunder-
bolt, he shot down the trail toward the
The black's head jerked up as he heard
the roar. His eyes seemed to triple in size,
his face blanching a dirty gray. With a wild
flailing of arms and legs, he managed to
whip around and start back toward the
But at that moment, five more warriors
running in single file sprinted into view.
The fleeing black hammered into the line
of his fellows, screaming, "Simba, Simba!"
and clawing for his sword.
His cry of "Lion, Lion!" was no warning.
All he succeeded in doing wai to send the
first three men sprawling over him in a con-
fused tangle. The last two blacks did
manage to keep their feet, skidding to a
stop just in time to make perfect targets
for the charging lion.
Sheena's savage pet shot completely over
the fallen men and landed with demoniac
fury on the rear two warriors. Sabor's tear-
ing claws and fangs had ripped the blacks
to shreds before he had borne them to the
The great lion wasted no time on his
first victims. Barely had his feet touched
earth when he reared about and dove direct-
ly on the fallen mass of men. He seemed
to understand that he must strike before
the warriors could bring their weapons
into pi ay.
The watching white man was never to
forget that awful scene. The natives screams
cut through the bloodcurdling snarls of the
maddened cat. The black- maned brute was
everywhere at once, leaping, twisting, spin-
ning, striking down the terrorized warriors
before they could flee.
And suddenly it was over and the blood-
stained lion stood among the torn things
that had once been men and cried his kingly
rage to the jungle. His one loyalty was to
Shcena. Baring his fangs and tossing his
head, he roared defiance at all those who
would harm her.
The white man rubbed a hand across his
eyes, muttered, ". . . unbelievable . . . that
devil obeying her . . . fighting for her. . . ."
But it was only the first of the astonishing
experiences in store for him.
The girl's whole being had changed. Her
eyes bhzed with excitement. She was no
longer a person resigned to death. She ran
up to him, momentarily forgetting that he
had spoken in a strange tongue.
"Come!" she said exultantly in Abama.
"They'll never catch us nowl Tamba is
bound to be close by. Nothing but jealousy
would have made Sabor follow me this
distance. He was afraid Tamba would get
me off to himself and he'd go to any lengths
to keep that from happening. "
"I don't know who or what you're talk-
ing about," he answered hoarsely, "but 1
darn sure don't want to stay here with that
SHE was pulling him down the path then,
her darting eyes searching tht jungle
about' them. It was a full-minute before she
realized that, except for a few strange
words like "darn," he had replied to her
in the Abama language. She looked at him,
a smile like a burst -of sunlight curving her
"You do speak as L do," she said happily.
"My heart sank when first I heard you
speak in a strange tongue, for I thought
you were different from me. But we are
the same — the same skin, the same language,
the same blood.''
Uneasy wonder at the mystery of this
strange jungle girl stirred the white man
again. She had the beauty of a goddess,
the ways of a wild feature. She was un-
doubtedly white, but spoke Abama.as her
native language and seemed to have no
knowledge of her own race at all.
And this Tamba she spoke of, who was
he? Another lion? Or was he some hulking
brute of a wild man. The thought of her
belonging to some man hadn't occurred
to him before. He found he was oddly
"Are you sure this Tamba person will
welcome me?" he asked.
"Tamba?" she said, surprised. "He won't
• The white man wet his lips. "Uh — is he
your husband?" He had to ask it.
She repeated the Abama word for hus-
band under her breath as though she were
unsure she had heard him aright. Then
suddenly a peal of delighted laughter burst
from her throat.
"Oh, no," she said, her voice husky with
laughter. "The sly old lazybones has
E ractically moved in with me and thinks
e owns me, but he's hardly the type for
The white man nervously cleared his
throat, his face grown more somber than
ever. He failed to see. any humor in the
situation. It was only further proof, he told
himself, of how desperately little he really
knew about women.
He stared darkly at the ground, the trees,
the leaf -obscured sky, anywhere so he
wouldn't have to look into those dancing
blue eyes. A damnable crime, he boiled
silently. A young and beautiful girl like
that. Looked like the picture of innocence,
too. Another tragedy of environment, but
probably it was far too late to do anything
about it now.
Her glad cry broke into his thoughts.
"There he is! There's Tamba! I knew he
wouldn't be far away."
He looked grimly in the direction she
pointed. For a moment, since he was pre-
pared to see a man, his glance registered
nothing but green shrubs with a huge, gray,
rock-like mound vaguely visible behind
Then the mound moved, shoved through
the undergrowth with amazing speed and
quiet toward the girl, and with astonished
eyes he recognized a mammoth elephant.
"That is Tamba?" he-sputtered. His face
reddened as be "became 'twwe of her laugh-
"We must hurry," she said, grown sud-
denly serious. "The Bambaia will be slowed
down by the sight of these bodies and
Sabor may pick off another one or two, but
so long as they have a spoor to follow,
they'll stay after us."
The elephant had stopped a few paces
away and was regarding her with first one
keen little eye and then tiie other.
"Here Tamba, lift . him up," she com-
manded. The white man retreated a step.
"He won't hurt you," she said in an aside.
She reached out and patted the man on the
shoulder for the elephant's benefit. ,
"I don't feel like I can move," he said
tensely, "but if it is all the same to yotv
I'll take walking rather than this." He took
another backward step away from the forest
She beamed for the elephant, and said
in a whisper, "Don't be f-oolish. He's as
gentle as a baby rabbit."
"Well, why are you whispering then?"
the man demanded.
"I don't want him to get the idea you're
afraid," she declared. "He might not respect
"Oh, great!" he said. But under her
serious, half-pleading look, he found him-
self standing stiffly while the gray giant
approached, suspiciously investigated him
with his trunk. The man thought of a burly
cop efficiently frisking a shady character.
Maybe it was imagination, but he also
thought Tamba gave the giil a rather ag-
"Hurry up, Tamba," snapped Sheena.
"I'll explain everything to you later."
THE next thing the man knew, the ele-
phant's trunk had snapped gently but
securely about his waist and he was being
swept high in the air. By the time he had
scrambled to a safe perch on Tamba's back,
Sheena was settling herself on the broad
head, slipping her long, shapely legs down
behind the beast's ears.
She drummed her heels, spoke a quick
command, and the elephant turned and
went at a surprisingly fast gait down the
path. The girl sat the forest giant as though
she were glued on, but the man jounced,
SWORD OF GIMSHAt
slipped »nd slid all over the swaying back.
His first experience with the ancient art of
elephant riding couldn't be termed a success-
ful one. , ,
For what seemed an eternity, he struggled
to stay on that lurching back. He was too
busy trying with only two hands to hold
onto his rifle, clutch the rough, loose skin
and block out the branches that lashed at
him with diabolical aim to pay any attention
to where they were headed.
When Tamba did stop, the white man s
head was whirling diz2ify in one direction,
his stomach in another.
The soft, little clucking sounds of sym-
pathy Sheena made as she helped him climb
down touched his masculine pride. "Isn't
this a fine thing," he told himself- angrily.
"Here I am acting like a maiden great-
aunt, and she's as fresh and strong as when
this nightmare started."
She solicitously maneuvered him to where
he could sit down and rest his back against
the tree trunk. He felt almost as bad as he
had once when he was sea-sick and he sat
with his eyes closed until she suddenly was
holding a gourd of cold water to his- lips.
He took a few cautious sips of the water
and used the rest to bathe his face.
He immediately felt better. He lifted
his head to thank her. A smalt black face
with brilliant, glittering black eyes hung
upside down in the air not four inches from
his own startled features,
"Uuugh!" he exclaimed and slammed
himself back against the tree.
"Oh, I'm sorry," apologized Sheena. "It's
only Chim. He wanted to get a good look at
And shame-facedly, the man realized the
strange apparition was nothing more than
a small ape hanging from a limb by his
He looked about at the pleasant, tree-
shaded clearing, the tree-house high above
him, the cool, clear deeps of the river.
"You live here?" he asked unbelieving-
ly. "And all alone?"
She nodded enthusiastically.
Chim, apparently tiring at long last of
his upside down position, loosened his grip
on the limb, turned a quick flip and landed
in a squatting position in the white man's
"I can't imagine how you manage," he
said, trying not to notice the monkey's
stern, unblinking scrutiny. "How long have
you lived this way?"
"Why, always," she said matter-of-factly.
"Doesn't everyone live about the same way?
Of course, I do live in a tree-house, whereas
most natives build on the ground. There's
plenty of game and plenty of water here.
I don't think anyone could find a more
HE THOUGHT of the great crowded
cities of America, the unnumbered
kinds of stores, services and establishments,
the huge manufacturing plants, the giant
utilities, the layers upon layers of governing
bodies. And this slim, wide-eyed, blonde girl
asked him if everyone didn't live about the
same way she did. An existence such as hers,
let alone a happy, healthful existence, had
become- inconceivable to the white races of
"Surely, you remember your family," he
A shadow seemed, to pass across her face.
"No," she said. "They died while I was
a baby. The Abamas found mc, but they
can tell me nothing except that my parents
were of the Tribe of God." The expression
was one used by natives to describe white
Grown suddenly moody, she bit her full
lower lip, stared off across the river. A
wave of sympathy swept over the man. But
the girl's mood swiftly passed. She turned
back to him, as bright and vivacious as
"You haven't told me how you ace
called," she said shyly.
"Great Scot," he exclaimed in English,
"I really am the boy for manners."
She blinked at him. "That is your name?"
He laughed. "No, no. My name is Bob
She pronounced it after him cautiously,
like a child learning a new phrase. Then
as if she had made a startling discovery,
she asked, "Why do you have "two
Without thinking, he returned, "Why
not? Most people have three."
She looked troubled. "I have only one —
Sheena," she confessed in a disturbed
whisper. "I gees it is • b*^ thing to hive
only one name?"
It dawned on him that she wasn't joking.
In het first tentative' brush with civilization,
he wis unwittingly making her feel certain
"lacks" in herself. He sought to reassure
"The main, reason for a name is so you'll
be known and remembered," he said. "As
lovely a girl as you doesn't need more than
one name. There would never he a chance of
your being confused with any other girl.
No matter how many Sheena's there were
in the world, once a man saw you, the name
Sheena would never mean anyone but you."
She gravely considered his words. It was
the first male compliment she had ever re-
ceived. It hadn't occurred to her that how
she looked might have any effect on a man.
She pursed her lips, trying to figure out
his- exact meaning.
"You mean," she picked her words slow-
ly, "that you find it good to look upon
Bob Reilly went through a considerable
process of throat clearing. He should have
remembered that women were quite unable
to view any matter in the abstract. They
dealt with everything on a purely personal
basis. He noticed how she leaned her head
forward and frowningly looked herself over
as though wondering what there could
be that was particularly pleasine about
"Anyone would say that you are unusually
beautiful," he said with enforced calm.
There, he had avoided the personal angle
She smiled. You could see the pleasure
grow in her. "I — I feel quite different,"
she said, "from your saying that."
He found himself watching her appre-
hensively, and it was with a distinct sense
of relief that he saw -her turn away, walk
to the river bank and lean over to study
The mAikcy still squatted in his lap. He
hadn't thought one of the little varmints
could. stay quiet so long. Maybe the frozen-
faced devil was trying to hypnotize him.
Bob stole a glance at Sheena, and certain
she wasn't watching him, he made the most
vicious, menacing face he could at the
>Chim 'registered" absolutely *> reattjoft:
He didn't turn a hair.
Bob lifted his hands to bis cars and
waggled^ them in the universally insulting
gesture of brattish children. Chim's hard
little eyes didn't so much as w*ver. Bob
bared his teeth, made ugly croaking sounds
deep in his throat.
Then with insulting slowness, the monkey
raised his own hands to his ears, twisted
his black little features Into -a leering
grimace, .and mimicked the man's gestures
with a. brazen exactitude. When he had
finished, Chim made a soond suspiciously
like a horse laugh, leaped to the ground
and went skittering off acres* the clearing
in high good humor.
BOB leaned back against the tree and
closed his eyes. Too moch had hap-
pened to him in too short a time. "If I
don't pull myself together," he told himself,
"I'll be going off my trolley permanently."
His conscience was hurting him because he
was deliberately pushing away thoughts of
the ambush and of what his next move
must be. But he realized he was too con-
fused and beat up to plan logically. The
son of one of America's wealthiest men,
Bob at twenty-three, with a hat full of
scholastic and sports honors and an eager-
ness to get out and prove himself in the
world, had found himself faced with even
more sterile, needless years of study. His
stepmother, as a means of getting him out
from underfoot, had convinced his father
it would be well to send him abroad for
And the long submissive Bob finally re-
belled. In an ugly scene with his angry,-
desk-pounding father and coldly scornful
stepmother, he steadfastly asserted his in-
dependence, and ended by stalking out of
the house in a white fury.
Imbued with a desire to get away from
everything representing his old life, he
recalled an expedition being organized by
one of his old professors to record and
study native African languages. He had
demonstrated an unusual aptitude for
languages in school, and that talent along
with his general record of scholarship and
SWORD OF GIMSBAI
the publicity value of his name, made it an
easy task for him to get on the expedition
as an assistant.
After three months in the bush, the
elderly professor's health broke down and
he had to return home, leaving Bob in
charge. If anything, the wort: went better
under the younger man's direction, and he
began to feel he was going to show his
father that be wasn't the only Reilly who
could pull his own weight under difficult
But bis desire to include the more
primitive and little-known tribes in his
study drew him into the trackless depths of
unexplored territory. He had known there
was danger and' had taken what he con-
sidered were adequate steps to protect his
safari. But in his inexperience, he failed
to realize the vast difference between the
fighting qualities of his long subjugated
coastal blacks and those of the fierce,
marauding tribesmen of the interior.
His guards and bearers were boastful
enough about their fighting prowess until
trouble came. Then they fled in panic, aban-
doning both packs and weapons. And so
Bob's attempt to stand on his own feet, to do
something striking enough to impress his
father, ended in utter disaster.
"I've botched the whole thing," he told
himself. "I'm a failure. No expedition will
give me a chance after this, and now my
parents will expect roe to come crawling
back to them. And I'll hare the Wood of
those murdered men oq my hands the rest
of my life."
It was these torturing thoughts that Bob
tried to push away from Him as he' sat in"
Sheena's clearing. At last his very weariness
came to his rescue. His chin dropped for*
ward on his chest and he slid away into*
Night had fallen when Bob awakened. A
great silver moon lay low in the sky. The.
moonlight washed the riveaf with beauty,
painted shifting patterns on the ground
beneath the tall freest The weird night
chorus of the jungle rose all about the
Bob sat up in alarm, unable at first to
identify his surroundings. A fire,, burned
down to red coals, glowed' In thecenfe*
of the clearing. He smelled the 'Mrotf'$c$bk
of a joint of meat grilling slowly over the
"Where the devil am I?" he muttered,
hurriedly reassuring himself that his pistol
was still in its holster.
Nothing moved in the clearing. It seemed
utterly deserted. Then his glance caught on
a dark bulk hunched not thirty feet from
him in the shadow of a tree trunk. He
caught his breath and waited. The dark
bulk moved, and abruptly, two slanting
yellow eyes burned wickedly at him from
A huge cat lay crouched there, watching
That sight swept the cobwebs from his
brain. He remembered Sheena and her
savage pet. If Sheena had wandered off and
left him alone with that beast, he wouldn't
have a chance. He felt cold sweat trickling
down his face.
What should he do? If he called out or
moved, that devil might charge. He recalled
the stories he had read about intrepid
hunters playing dead when through some
accident they had found themselves at the
mercy of a lion.
But even as he thought of these story-
book heroes, he saw Sabor flatten himself
on the ground, creep forward a good two-
feet on his belly. He didn't feel the- least
bit intrepid at that moment.
^'SHEENA!" he called loudly.
"Here I am." Her voice came from the
direction of the river. "What's wrong?"
"Get this blasted lion of yours away
from me! He's ready to spring."
■ ."Oh, is that all," she said, obviously re-
lieved. "Don't worry about Sabor. He
wouldn't hurt you now for the world."
AT THE sound of his mistress' voice, Sa-
bor stood up and looked toward the
river. The instant those yellow eyes were off
of him, Bob was up and around behind the
tree against which he had been leaning.
Once out of sight of the cat, he streaked
■ for another tree, further away. When he
reached it safely, he began to work his
way toward the water with all the care of
an infantryman under heavy fire.
Jtfe reached the bank muttering. A hasty
'glance ovtf the moon-swept water failed
to reveal any sign of her. He looked over
his shoulder. Sabor was moving toward him
with slow steps, pausing every few feet to
sniff the night air.
Bob turned back toward the river just
in time to see Shcena's head break the sur-
face of the water. Of all the cold-blooded
women, he thought. She amuses herself by
swimming around under water while her
man-killing pet stalks me.
She saw him in the moonlight. "I was be-
ginning lo think you never would wake up,"
she said. "Come on in the water. It feels
wonderful. The meal won't be ready for
awhile yet anyway."
With Sabor stalking him, there was no
room in Bob's mind for the proprieties
In nothing flat, he had tugged off his boots
and stripped to his shorts. Cats, even big
cats, didn't like water. He would be safe in
Bob took two running steps and drove out
over the water in a racing dive. He drove
out toward mid-stream with a smooth
powerful stroke, leaving a frothing wake.
"How swiftly you go," she exclaimed as
he swam up to her. "Like the finny ones
themselves! Oh, if only I could swim that
way! I've studied every animal I could, try-
ing to learn better ways of swimming, but
none of them can match you."
He had meant to lecture to her about
Sabor. But he found himself saying almost
moderately, "You've got to do something
about that lion. Didn't you realize he was
creeping up to kill mc?"
"Faugh," she said mildly. "On the trail
— yes — he would have killed you. But now
he understands you're my friend. He's been
lying there looking at you since long before
dark. After all, he never saw a white man
before and he's kind of interested."
"I tell you he even came creeping after
mc down to the river," insisted Bob. "I
don't like him and lie doesn't like mc."
Sheena laughed. On the shore the black-
mancd lion coughed irritably. Both the man
and the girl glanced toward him. He was
standing with his head high, staring out at
them over the water.
"Well, Sabor, probably thinks we would
be better off without you," she confessed,
"but I told him you belonged to mc and
to leave you alone. And he'll do it!"
Bob's mind had stopped dead on the
words, "I told him you belonged to me."
He was suddenly puzzled. What was going
on in the head or this wild, young, pagan
The next thing he knew she was swim-
ming so close to him that he could feel the
touch of her bare leg against his as she
"I've been thinking about what you said
to me this afternoon," she suddenly de-
Her eyes were disturbingly large and
luminous in the moonlight.
"What was that?" he asked.
"About you finding me good to look
upon," she explained. "That made me very
happy. I couldn't really understand what
you meant at first," Sheena went on. "I've
never been around any men of my own kind,
so it hadn't occurred to me that — well —
that they might like mc or not like me."
"Yes. Quite so," Bob said uneasily.
"Don't you think you should look at the
Sheena's face was instantly sympathetic.
"Oh, I forgot," she said. "I'm not used
to having visitors. You must be starv-
Before he could move, she had thrust
her feet against the river floor and stood
up. He realized for the first time that she
swam unclad and her suddenly revealed
beauty made his breath catch- in his throat.
Her bare body was a picture of Aphrodite
rising from the sea.
Sheena waded to the bank. With a child's
innocence, she stood there smoothing the
glistening drops of water from her body
with her hands. After leisurely donning her
halter and shorts, she walked across to the
fire, inspected the joint of meat cooking over
When Sheena called him to eat, Bob
dressed hurriedly in the shadow of a tree
and joined her near the fire. The food was
delicious and he ate huge quantities of it,
but actually he hardly tasted it or knew
what he was eating.
Never in his life had Bob felt such con-
flicting emotions about anyone as he did
about the jungle girl. He kept stealing
glances at Sheena as she moved back and
forth from the fire, waiting on him, , or
SWORD OF GIMSBAI
while she sat cross-legged beside him, eating
with unconcealed enjoyment. She shone
And suddenly he realized that he was
happy too. By all rights, he felt he should
have been wallowing in the depths of
despair. He was lost in the depths of an
untracked jungle, hunted by murderous
tribesmen, left without any adequate means
of protecting himself. Yet never had he
felt so vibrantly alive as he did now.
THE raucous argument of parrots on a
limb above him awakened Bob in the
morning. He had slept near the fire, using a
zebra skin thrown over freshly-cut grasses
for his bed. The moment he sat up, his eyes
went to the tree house high above him.
He realized that his first thoughts were of
the blonde-haired girl. "This won't do," he
warned himself. "I'm supposed to be a
serious, intelligent adult." He got up and
began to pace the clearing, forcing every-
thing out of his mind but his wrecked ex-
pedition. He had to decide what to do.
He could be a quitter, write off the ex-
pedition as a total loss and concentrate on
trying to get out of this scrape with his own
skin whole. Under the circumstances, that
didn't seem too illogical.
But Bob kept remembering that a good
part of the records of the expedition were in
those packs abandoned by the bearers. The
Bambala were certain to gather up the packs,
cart them back to their village as loot. Until
he knew those records were definitely de-
stroyed, he felt bound to try to recover them.
Then, even though the cowardice of his
blacks was the real reason for the debacle,
he considered it his duty to go to the help
of any who had survived the attack. The
Bainbala wouldn't have slaughtered them all.
Once certain their victims were too terrorized
to fight back, they would have begun taking
And after an hour of pacing and fretting,
he made up his mind. He wouldn't be able
to live with himself if he didn't make a
sincere attempt to free the surviving bearers
and retake the records he had so painstak-
ingly gathered. Yet even as the resolve was
formed, he felt himself doomed to failure.
How could he, with a handful of pistol
cartridges and an abysmal ignorance of the
jungle, hope to strike any kind of a blow
against the savage Bambala?
Bob was surprised to see Sheena suddenly
stride from the jungle. He had thought her
still asleep in the tree house. She leaned het
spear against a tree, walked over and stirred
the fire to life.
"I left early," she said. "I thought it wise
to check on the Bambala." She knelt, placed
four fresh sticks of wood in the flames.
"The Bambala didn't turn back as I had
hoped," she said abruptly. "They are search-
ing for us now,"
SHE loosened a leather pouch belted
about her slim waist, laid it on a clean
rock beside the fire. Then, after selecting a
long, pointed stick from a collection held
in a large gourd, she reached in the pouch
and drew out a freshly cleaned and dressed
bird. She held it up for him to see before
she spitted it on the stick for cooking.
"I thought these birds might please you
for the morning meal," she said. And so
he would understand they were something
special, she added, "I hunted for them
The girl utterly baffled Bob. She seemed
to have dismissed the black warriors from
her mind. After learning those murderous
devils were searching them out, how could
' she calmly go hunting and then come back
to enjoy a leisurely meal.
"The birds look wonderful," he said
without enthusiasm. "But frankly, Sheena,
shouldn't we be getting out of here instead
of thinking of eating?"
"Leave?" she said, surprised. "This is
"You can't fight off a whole tribe," he
Her eyes flashed. "I can cause them
enough trouble to make them wish they
hadn't come. I've done it before.
"But they'll come back, Sheena,' he said
gravely. "And they'll keep coming back
until one day they'll catch you."
She fitted the spitted birds onto the forked
supports which held them over the fire.
She stood up, brushed her hands The
merest shadow crossed her face.
"Deaft must come to every living crea-
tive," declared the girl. "I will not be
afraid when my time comes." She spoke
with the fatalism of those to whom danger
is a constant companion.
"Is there a way, Sheena," he asked sud-
denly, "for me to circle around these war-
riors and reach their village. I'd guess that
most of the able-bodied men are hunting
for us. This might be my "best chance to
slip into their village and try to free any
of the bearers who were captured. If there
are enough of them and they'll help me,
maybe I can even recover my records."
Sheena turned in alarm. Though she had
talked calmly enough of death in regard to
herself, she now exclaimed, "Are you trying
to kill yourself? You must be mad to speak
of such a thing!"
He blinked at her, taken aback by her
reaction. She paced rapidly back and forth
in front of him.
"I haven't the least desire to get any-
where near that village," he admitted
honestly, "but it is my duty to do it."
"Duty? I do not know this word!" She
was like an aroused leopard, lithe and quick,
with a wildness in her eyes. "I will not have
you put yourself in danger. I will not have
it, you understand!"
Bob scratched his head and frowned. He
hadn't anticipated anything like this.
"It's all right for you to play dangerous
games- with the Bambala, but not me. Is
She gave her long blonde hair a savage
toss. "I am different," she snapped. "I am
She readied him with quick steps, shook a
finger in his face. "Put this notion from
your head. You are not to go anywhere
near that kraal of dangos."
"You saved my life, Sheena," he answered
gently, "and I'm deeply grateful, but I'm
not a new pet who will meekly do your
bidding. There are some things a man
must do if he is to live with himself."
And he tried to explain to her then why
he had to make a stab at helping the bearers
and recovering the work of many months.
"You owe those men nothing," she told
him with harsh, feminine logic. "They did
not value their freedom enough to fight for
it. As to this work you talk of, .1 do not
understand about it too much, btitit can't
be important enough to lose your life over."
"Nevertheless, I must go," he said
She was very dose to him. The changeful
blue depths of her eyes softened, losing the
storminess of a moment before. The warm,
girl scent Qf her came up to Bob.
He watched the curve of her full, red
lips. Her teeth were small and fine and
white. He had never known any woman
who stirred him as she did.
Suddenly the tight control he had exerted
over himself snapped. Before he knew
what he did, he reached his arms about
her and pressed his mouth to hers.
The startled girl's eyes flew wide. She
stiffened as though either to fight or run.
But she let him draw her into his embrace,
made no attempt to take her mouth from
Abruptly he released her, but he could
not move away because she held him with
the rigidness of her arms about his neck.
"I'm sorry, Sheena," he mumbled. "I
shouldn't have done. that. I — I didn't mean
to do it." He was embarrassed and angry
with himself. "I only meant to tell you that
though I wish I never had to see another
Bambala, I have to go to their village."
Sheena slid her arms from his neck and
stepped back. The strange, startled ex-
pression was still on her face. Her right
hand came up to touch her mouth.
"Why did — what did you do«?" she
Bob frowned, momentarily puzzled. Then
he was more embarrassed than ever. Sheena
had no idea what a kiss was.
"I kissed you," he said. And then he
didn't know what to say next.
"But why?" she demanded.
"Uli — well, I just couldn't help myself."
His face reddened. "Among our people,
when a man . . ." That didn't sound right.
"It's a custom. It — it means — no, that's
not what I want to say." He bumbled oa
in a growing confusion of unfinished
"You mean," Sheena asked, "that among
people with white skin it is like when a
native man rubs noses with a girl?"
"Yes," he granted uncomfortably. He
considered how swiftly feminine instinct
SWORD OF GIMSHAI
had taken her to the heart of the matter.
"I have seen them," she said thoughtfully.
She touched her lips with her fingers. "This
is a strange thing, this 'kiss', very strange."
Then slowly, she smiled and nodded her
head. "But it is far better than the natives'
custom. I think our people must be very
wise. First, there was the firestick which
kills at a distance, then the superior way
of swimming, and now this matter."
"Then you aren't angry with me?"
She contemplated him gravely. "No," she
said softly. "I should like you to do it again,
now when I wouldn't be so surprised."
Bob swallowed heavily. "Not now," he
declared. His breath came very fast. "No,
not now." He might have proved himself a
sorry kind of man by making a mess of his
expedition, he told himself, but he'd be
damned if he was sorry enough to take
advantage of Sheena's innocence. She had
saved his life. The least he could do was
to behave himself.
SHFENA sighed, tapped a forefinger
against her teeth for a few moments.
"Do not worry, Bob. If you must go
through with this Bambala foolishness,"
she said in unexpected capitulation, "Sheena
will make you a plan. You sit here and
rest. Fretting is not good for you."
He was relieved to know she wasn't going
to continue her opposition, though he didn't
take seriously her easy assurance that she
would provide a plan. She was an unusual
girl, but a foray such as he contemplated
was rather out of a woman's line. He was
amused by her swift shift from the role of
a naive, young maiden to that of a wise
elder mothering a child.
But later, after they had eaten, when he
still hadn't laid hold of the vaguest notion
of how to carry through his project, she
calmly and confidently told him 1 how the
job could be done.
She said, "This will work — if anything
will. I know the BamBala, how they think.
And fortunately for us, only women and
old men will be in the kraal."
Bob listened in amazement. Never in a
thousand years would so unorthodox a
scheme have occurred to him. But, by
George, it might work. It was bold and
dangerous, yet properly executed it could
so stun and frighten the tribesmen that he
would have time to free his bearers and
gather up his records before a hand was
raised against him.
Then his face suddenly fell. Tamba was
the keystone of the whole plan, which he
realized on second thought meant that
Sheena was counting herself in on the raid.
"Oh, no," he cried. "You're taking no
part in this. The plan won't do. I'm not
risking your life on business that just con-
Sheena regarded the determined set of his
jaw and smiled.
"You're mistaken," she said mildly. "The
"fight is entirely yours. I mean only to help
you get ready for it and guide you to the
village. If I order it, Tamba will do your
bidding well enough to get you through."
Bob subsided. "Well, that's different,"
he said. "I won't have you running any more
risks on my account. Look at the trouble
I've already caused you."
Throughout the day, Bob kept worrying
that they shouW leave the camp, but Sheena
refused to be hurried. After several trips
into the jungle to gather a strange assort-
ment of bulbs, roots, and dank, yeasty
growths, she had settled down to mixing a
white, glue-like substance.
"Chim and Sabor are keeping an eye on
the Bambala," she told him. "They'll let
us know when the dangos get too close."
Bob didn't share her confidence in the
two pets. And the fact that Chim would
get bored about every two hours and return
to camp to see what Sheena was doing
didn't help his nerves. After the jungle
girl had chased the grumbling ape back
to his post for the third time, she made a
further concession to ease Bob's tension.
"I laid «"*>ugh false trails this morning
to keep the Bambala busy until nightfall,
unless they should get very lucky," she
explained. "And scattered along each trail
are unpleasant little surprises to discourage
them from hurrying."
She didn't go into detail about the sur-
prises and he didn't ask her to, for her
grim tone brought crowding into his mind,
the variety of murderous traps he had seen
black men use in hunting: camouflaged pits,
drawn bows released when a vine in the
path was touched, tiny, poisoned bamboo
splinters set in the earth, snares that would
jerk a grown bushbuck eight-feet in the air
and break its neck, bent saplings that would
hammer a lion into pulp.
But the revelation of how she had oc-
cupied the early morning shook him as badly
as had the realization that Sabor, far more
than a pet, was a deadly weapon she em-
ployed against her enemies.
When he looked at her now, he saw a
young, mtld, soft-voiced girl, anxious to
please, quick to laugh. He felt at ease
with this girl. In truth, he felt pleasantly
superior. Then abruptly, she would shatter
this mould into which he had fitted her,
reveal ing by some action that she was more
a sister to a tawny, dangerous lioness than
the conventional being he tried to believe
her to be.
How could he reconcile the shy, soft-
mouthed girl he had held in his arms for a
moment that morning with the Sheena
who could meet and best the black warriors
at their own savage game?
It made him almost afraid of the girl.
You couldn't guess what really went on in
that head of hers Of predict how she would
react in a given situation. How could be be
sure she wouldn't turn on him, if he made
a move that rubbed her the wrong way?
Sheena was too busy to notice any change
in him. Not until late afternoon did she
plug up with 2 stopper of wadded leaves
the last of five large gourds of the thick,
whitish liquid. She glanced at the low-lying
sun and then came over to where Bob sat,
stretched out on her side on the ground
She smiled up at him, her head cushioned
on her right arm. "The night ahead may
Be long," she said simply. "I will rest until
Chim comes. He would never $*rgive me
for leaving him behind."
She dosed her eyes, took a few slow,
deep breaths and was immediately" asleep.
Bob blinked in amazement. "That's not
human," he told himself. "She even sleeps
like a cat."
He set his jaw firmly and looked away
into the jungle. But in less than a minute
his gaze had crept back to the sleeping form
beside him. He studied the way. the long,
blonde hair tumbled about her face and
shoulders, examined the long lashes lying
heavy against her golden skin, .watched with
something more than scientific interest, the
manner in which her red lips pouted in
The daylight was nearly gone when Bob
realized with a start that Sheena's eyes were
open and that for some time she had been
silently watching him.
His confusion wasn't lessened when she
said. "Chim grows impatient with my
As though ear plugs had been drawn from
his ears, he suddenly heard a monkey chatter-
ing and grumbling in the tree above them..
How long the little devil had been there
he didn't know, but apparently for a con-
siderable period. And though Chim had
made enough noise to rouse Sheena from
sleep, Bob hadn't even been conscious of
"It was nice to awaken and find you
sitting beside me," she said, putting a hand
on his arm. "But I couldn't help but wonder
what you were thinking that made you
He got up quickly, avoiding her gaze.
"I was thinking of the raid," he lied.
"Oh/* she said quietly. And he had a
queer feeling that she was smiling in-
WHILE they waited for it to become
full dark, they ate a light meal of
fruit and nuts. Then Sheena called Tamba,
tied the gourds on him so they wouldn't
rattle or spill. Like the low, distant rumble
of thunder, came the roar of a lion. After
a brief interval, answering cries from
widely separated points in the jungle could
"The Bambala are close, but they won't
do much more traveling tonight," said
Sheena grimly. "That first roar was Sabor'*
victory cry, telling the jungle he had made
an easy kill. Every cat within hearing will
head for that area. I think we can move
And so in the pitch blackness before the
moon rose, Tamba carried them along secret
trails past the Bambala patrols. Bob, who
had worried about the nervous, talkative
Chim going along with them, noticed that
the monkey huddled in front of Sheena and
SWORD OF G1MSHAI
never uttered a sound. He was about ready
to believe that the jungle girl's pets did
understand what was going on
It was after midnight when Sheena halted
the elephant in a moonlit glade. "We'll do
our work here," she said. "The kraal is
within arrow shot."
She unfastened the gourds, detached two
of them, lowered the others carefully to
"I'll paint his head and back," she told
Bob. "You take care of his legs and
A half-hour later the patient elephant
had been smeared completely over with the
thick, white liquid brewed by Sheena. But
in the darkness, the liquid revealed a prop-
erty not discernible during daylight. It
glowed with an eerie, phosphorescent light.
Bob stood off and looked at Tamba. "By
Harry," he exclaimed, "he's the most un-
earthly-looking sight I ever hope to see.
And that hazy, bluish glow makes him look
twice as big as he is. A creature like that
looming out of the night would frighten
"The Abama witchwoman who brought
me up used it in her magic," explained
Sheena. "I often helped her gather the
materials and mix it."
Bob looked at his hands, glowing with
light from the mixture he had smeared over
the elephant. "I believe it may work," he
excitedly declared, "if the Bambala are as
superstitious as you say."
"Let us hope so," the girl said quietly.
"There will be danger enough at best."
Sheena had picked up the vine rope
which had been used to tie the gourds on
Tamba. As she talked, she idly toyed with
it, forming loose coils on the ground with
one end, twisting and gathering the other
end in an odd pattern.
"Well, this finishes your part of the
job, anyway," said Bob. "You've been
wonderful to help me."
He tried to tell her how grateful he was,
but he seemed suddenly clumsy with words
and his voice took on an unnatural brusque-
He finished lamely by saying, "I'd better
paint myself up now. And then as soon as
you get me started off on Tamba, 1 want
you to get away from here — and stay away.
You've taken too many chances on my
Sheena didn't look at him. She kept her
head down, her fingers nervously working
with the rope. "Yes, Bob," she said.
She seemed small and feminine and
terribly forlorn in the moonlight. The sight
of her caught Bob's heart and twisted it.
He had been a rotten, miserable heel to
think of her as he had that afternoon.
He couldn't leave her this way,. He had
to take her in his arms, tell her how he felt
about her. He took two steps towards her.
"Sheena," he said hoarsely, "before I
go . , ."
As though her mind had been turned
inward and she hadn't heard him, she sud-
denly interrupted. "The paint, Bob— it
must be dry before you mount Tamba. Hold
out your hands and let me see if it is drying
Her taut, businesslike tone, so out of
harmony with the mood that had swept over
him, stopped Bob in his tracks. Almost
angrily, he shoved out his hands for her
As to what happened next, he was to try
many times afterwards to recall exactly how
it did occur. But he was never to be entirely
certain about any of it.
Sheena leaned as though to inspect his
hands. The next thing he knew the vine
rope she had been idly fingering snapped
about his wrists. "What the devil?" he
Before he could realize what she was
about, Sheena leaped backwards, the rope
running through her hands with the speed
of a striking snake. Then she flipped the
rope, gave a powerful rug — and Bod's feet
shot from under him.
One end of the vine was lashed about
his wrists, the other about his ankles. There
had been careful planning behind all her
nonchalant handling of the rope while they
talked. The loops she had thrown on the
ground with seeming carelessness were those
she flicked upward to lash his ankles, send
him crashing to the ground.
Despite the stunning force of the fall he
took, Bob lashed out wildly, trying to break
free. After darting in to snatch nis pistol
from its holster, Sheena stood a safe distance
away, watching him struggle. He fought like
a maddened beast, his sanity momentarily
splintered by the terrible shock of her
But the bonds held, and at last he lay
gasping, his muscles trembling from the
violence of his efforts. Only then did he look
at her, letting the bitter acid of his wrath
spill out in words.
"And to think I believed in you, trusted
you," he* snarled. "I should have known
you'd turn on me like an animal if it were
to your advantage,"
His mouth was a vicious slit, his eyes
narrow pools of hate. His gun made a dull
thump as she dropped it at her feet.
"You fooled me, though," continued
Bob. "I swallowed all your hocus-pocus,
never suspecting that you'd use me to buy
your own safety. Very clever! You hand me
over to the Bambala and thereby buy them
off of your own trail. They were getting too
close for comfort. And you got to worrying
that if I did raid their kraal and did some
damage, they'd never forgive you for help-
Sheena smoothed her hands nervously
. over her midriff, her face expressionless
except for the eyes which seemed to glow
in the night. Finally, her right hand slid
to the knife riding the curve of her hip.
The blade gleamed coldly as she lifted it
from the sheath.
BOB was abruptly still as he saw the
bared steel in the jungle girl's hand.
Then with withering contempt, he said,
"Don't lose your head, my precious. The
Bambala won't pay as much for me dead
as they will alive. They, too, enjoy the
pleasure of killing!"
A deep, pained frown cut Sheena's fore-
head. She had foreseen everything in her
planning except Bob's reaction. The awful
bitterness of his words took her by surprise.
"Yes, I play a hard trick on you,' she
said evenly. "But I play it to save your life,
not take it away."
She turned her back on him. The gray
trunk of a dead tree stood at the edge of
the clearing some thirty paces in front of
her. She covered half the distance to the
tree with quick steps. Then Sheena lifted
the knife, sent it glittering through the ait
to drive point-first into the dead wood.
Bob had" lifted himself with difficulty
to a sitting position. He watched her fling
the knife into the tree and hurry back to
where Tamba waited.
"What did you mean about saving mv
life?" he demanded.
She picked up the remaining half-gourd
of phosphorescent paint, literally poured
it over her head and shoulders, saving back
enough to douse the protesting Chim. Then
she painted both her spear and bow.
"I meant I am going in your place!" she
snapped, rapidly smearing the paint evenly
over her. "Foolish One, Tamba would
never take your orders, and besides, I knou
far more about handling the Bambala tlun
He stared at her aghast as she signaled
Tamba to lift Chim and her to his back.
"You intended this from the beginning?"
. "Of course," she said. "If your men and
facks can be wrested from the Bambala,
will do it. If I fail, then you will still be
able to save yourself."
"No!" he burst out indignantly. "I won't
He was working clumsily with his fingers
to loosen the bonds on his ankles. Since
Sheena had tied his hands in front of him,
he had' no trouble reaching his feet.
"I tied you so you'd have to allow it,"
she said calmly. "And don't waste your
strength trying to undo those knots. You'H
need my knife to get free. By the time
you work your way over to that tree and get
it loose, it will be too late for you to
interfere at the kraal.
Sheena lifted her pet ape, dropped him
to the ground.
"However, on second thought I'll leave
Chim to help take care of you. The noise
he's making would work me harm, but his
voice and looks should protect you from
anything less than a rhino."
She tried to force a light-hearted gayery
into her tone, but the attempt wasn't wholly
successful. "I go now!" she said abruptly,
lifting her spear in an odd, quick salute.
Then Tamba was moving past Bob, bear-
ing Sheena into the jungle. He pleaded with
her not to go, nearer in his utter helpless-
ness to tears than at any time since his
SWORD OF GIMSHAt
cuff "' childhood. Sheena, sitting ramrod
straight, didn't look back, ,',..'
As the dark, green foliage dosed behind
her, Bob's voice trailed away brokenly. He
thought of things he had said to her in
anger and was ashamed and miserable. She
was going into that village for him and only
because of him.
He had called her an animal, immediately
attributing the basest motives to her. He
remembered the hurt, surprised look on
her face as she heard his accusations. Yet
she hadn't even rebuked him.
In that moment, the certainty crystallized
in him that he would never see. Sheena
again. She was riding to her death!
In one writhing effort, Bob heaved him-
self to his feet. He had to get free and
catch her. He reeled, his legs so tightly
bound he couldn't balance himself.
To keep from falling, he started hopping
forward, each clumsy hop swifter and more
desperate than the preceding one. But his
convulsive ofiprts to regain his equilibrium
were' doomed to failure. He got no mote
than five yards before he crashed heavily
to the hard earth.
The f all knocked the breath from him,
vet he immediately fought to his elbows and
knees. He heard a wierd gibberish sounding
right at his shcrrfder. He jerked his head
around and saw Chim crouched on bands
and knees beside him; the ape, his eerily
glowing face seemingly wreathed with
diabolical delight, was trying to assume the
same position as Bob.
■ The distraaght man's temper exploded.
."I'll teach you to mock me," he shouted,
And, he reared up on his knees, lifting his
bound arms to knock the ape rolling.
But Chim divined his purpose instantly.
With an alarmed screech, the ape bounded
backwards and fled off across the clearing
like some small, incandescent demon. Bob
shook his. knotted fists in futile, senseless
CHIM literally flew over the ground, his
little head twisting right and left in
search of a safe refuge. The gray outlines
of the dead tree caught his attention as it
had Sheena*s when she looked for a place
to plant the knife. The ape headed for the
tree. He scrambled up the trunk in mad
haste, shooting past tW knife to reach the
bare lower limbs.
Not until then did he pause to look back.
His staccato outburst revealed surprise that
the man hadn't moved. He fell silent, con-
sidering the matter. Then deciding he was
quite safe, his whole manner changed and
he began climbing slowly down the tree,
grandly announcing his outrage at being
put upon like a common fellow.
When Chim reached the knife, he sud-
denly stopped his tirade. Herecognized the
scent of his beloved mistress. He gave a de-
lighted cry and tugged the knife free.
He beamed on the weapon. It was
Sheena's. He would return it to Sheena and
she would be pleased with him. She was
always very proud of him when he returned
some belonging of hers that he found. In
fact, if the truth were known, he often
stole her belongings so he might return
thena and have her pleased with him.
His run-in with Bob had slipped as com-
pletely out of Chim's erraticlittle mind as
. had his memory that Sheena was gone. His
head didn't trouble itself very often to try
to hold mote than one notion at a time.
He dropped from the tree and scampered
happily back toward Bob. He was within
three yards of the man when he realize
Sheena was nowhere in sight. Chim had
been too angry about the white paint being
poured on him to pay any attention to
Sheena's departure, and after that, Bob's
antics had so engrossed him that he still
didn't realize he had been deserted.
All at once now it was borne in on him
that his protector was gone and that the
terrible night so feared by the tree folk
kept him from finding her. Chim was sud-
denly frightened. He looked about at the
dark trees, imagining fearful enemies star-
ing at him.
Bob had no idea what went on in Chim's
mercurial mind. The white man crouched
on his knees, his breath coming in hard
gasps. The ape had the knife. That was
all that mattered.
From the moment Chim had pulled the
knife from the tree and started back toward
him, Bob had been afraid to speak or move.
He had to get the weapon from the little
devil. But how? After the way he had' treat-
ed the monkey, a word or movement from
Him would probably scad Chim Bering inco
He wet his lips nervously. "Here Chirnl
Good boy, give me the knife." He uttered
the words like a prayer. "Nice boy. I won't
Chim, who had hunkered down into a
little glowing knot, lifted his head and
stared mournfully at the white man. Then
he ducked his face and shivered.
Bob kept talking in the gentle, wheed-
ling tone. The monkey wouldn't budge. Bob
gathered his courage and edged forward a
few inches. Without even lifting his head,
Chim edged backward an equal distance.
Bob groaned. He'd never get the knife,
never in the world. The little fool under-
stood and obeyed every word Sheena spoke,
yet at this moment, when so much depended
on it, he wouldn't heed a single thing Bob
said to him. -
And then abruptly, Bob realized that in
his excitement, he had been speaking in
English. With his voice trembling with ex-
citement, he switched to the Bambala
Chim straightenedj cocking his head to
listen. He seemed "to feel better immediate-
ly. He began to chatter and moved cau-
tiously in towards the man.
Bob was careful to make no sudden
moves. Not until the ape had snuggled
against him did he gently reach for the
knife. To his relief, Chim seemed actually
happy to give the weapon up. Bob's face
and hands were bathed with sweat and he-
was shaking as he cut away his rope bonds.
Hp shoved the knife under his belt, ran
to where Sheena had dropped his pistol.
Then gun in hand, he raced toward the
point where the jungle girl had left the
clearing, praying that he would be able to
follow her in the dark.
He was in luck for once. Tamba had left
a clear trail where he had forced his way
through the undergrowth, and within a dis-
tance of twenty yards, Bob hit a broad trail.
From the angle at which the elephant had
slanted into the trail, there was no doubting
the direction Sheena had taken.
AS HE started to run, a hysterical jab-
bering broke out behind him. Chim,
refusing to be abandoned, came rocketing
out of tne underbrush and in an amazing
leap, fastened himself on Bob's back. He
hugged himself against the white man so
tightly, his small heart pounding with
fright, that Bob couldn't bring himself to
throw him off.
"AH right," growled Bob. "You cant
play Old Man of the Sea until we come in:
sight of the kraal. Then you're going badq
on your own!" And with that, he sprinted
on down the trail with redoubted effort.
After Sheena left Bob tied in the clear-
ing, she turned her whole mind to the task
ahead of her, By the time she reached the
Bambala kraal, the final details of her plan
The walled village lay silent and sleeping
in the waning moonlight. If there wert
sentries posted, they rested listlessly out of
sight, lulled by the long, monotonous hours
of early morning. The campfires had died
to ash-whitened coals. Sheena had carefully
selected this as the most propitious .time
for her raid.
The jungle girl urged Tamba straight up
to the big main gate. In these first few
moments, Boldness w*6uid be her most valu-
able weapon. When the elephant slowed
his pace before the gate, not yet understand-
ing what was expected of him, Sheena
drummed her heels behind his ears, drove
him head-on against the massive barrier,
"Forward; O Mightiest of Elephants,'*
she encouraged him. "Let these jackals
know your strength. -
There was a splintering impact. For t
moment, the mammoth bull seemed to hesi-
tate. Then the big gate tore free of cross-
bars and hinges, fell inward with a mighty
And Tamba, exhilarated by the exploit ,
lifted his trunk and trumpeted an ear-split-j
ting challenge to all comers as he carried,
lu's mistress into the kraal.
Two guards who had been dozing on a
catwalk Beside the gate, crouched frozen on
their knees. Their eyes gleameo 1 out of the
darkness like great, circular bulbs as they
stared at the ghostly apparition sweeping
into the kraal.
"Tremble, you curs," cried Sheena, ges-
turing toward them with her spear, "for
the curse of doom is on you! I, wno am the
servant of Gimshai, dread 1 god of death,
prodaim this doom on the Bambala!"
Of all the fearsome jungle deities, the
all-powerful Gimshai struck the greatest
terror into the hearts of black men. And as
every native knew, the servants of Gimshai
appeared in a thousand thousand different
forms, struck at their chosen victims in un-
The terror of one of the guards was so
great that after hearing Sheena's words he
toppled forward senseless on the platform.
The other man, quaking in every muscle,
jerked upright on the platform. Mindless,
nerve-tearing screams ripped from his
throat. , .
He literally dove off the catwalk, hit the
ground with bone-breaking force. But fear
anaesthetized any physical hurt he sus-
tained, and he was on his feet and running
immediately, streaking down the main way
of the kraal.
The guard's screams ripped the blanket
of sleep from the village. Commands,
shouts, the sound of running feet boiled up
from the dark dusters of huts. Dazed men
and women poured from narrow, skin-hung
And into the very middle of this sudden-
ly aroused ant-heap rode Sheena. Straight
down the principal way of the village she
went, looking to neither right nor left, the
one completely calm, collected person in
all that howling throng.
She and the mammoth elephant seemed
enveloped in a swirling, blue-white haze of
light. Tamba seemed even more immense
than he really was, and the din of his steady
trumpeting, inspired by exdtement and the
scent of the Bambala, was indeed like the
sound of doom.
As the blacks, crowding out to learn the
cause of the disturbance, saw that white,
statue-like figure that was Sheena, the loud
furor died away like a fading echo. A low,
frightened room that could have been the
keening of the wind over a wasteland swept
back and beck through the massing natives.
Then Sheena's voice, harsh and savage,
was heard. "From the Black Hole of Death,
from the Skull-Throne of the Terrible God
himself, I bring you the curse of Gimshai.
"Look at me, 'O members of a jackal-
tribe! Look at me and tremble, for I am
the Clawed Hand of Gimshai; I am the
Net of the Eater of Souls; I am the Sword
of the God of Death."
Her words drove into the minds of the
Bambala like poisoned darts. Had she re-
hearsed her speech to Bob Reilly he would
have thought it suicidal nonsense. But
Sheena knew how to open the floodgates of
fear in her audience.
The entire existence of these wild and
primitive natives was a web of superstition.
Any strange or unexplained phenomena
they attributed to gods or demons. And
their over-active imaginations seized on
every untoward event and embroidered it
with supernatural significance.
Even now as they gazed at the strange,
chalk-white she-demon, their imaginations
swiftly added a variety of details to what
they thought they saw. There were some
who saw in the whiteness of her face the
dear outlines of a deathshead. Others saw
her long hair, stiffly encrusted with the
white liquid, as a mass of pale squirming
snakes. Some would say afterwards her eyes"
were hollow black sockets, others that they
were red coals of fire. *
It would be said that the spear in her
hand squirmed and wriggled like a living
thing, that the eerie, elephant-like appari-
tion she rode was no more than a mist
through which one could see, that rivulets
of cold flame ran outward along the ground
where the creature's feet were placed.
Sheena's audience was especially impres-
sionable bn this night when practically the
whole of its fighting strength was absent
Excited by their triumph of the previous
day, every warrior eagerly had sought to
join the hunt for Bob Reilly and the jungle
Left behind in the kraal were the un-
tried youths, the men too old or sick for
trekking, and the easily frightened mass of
women and children.
Sheena had counted on the absence of
the real fighting men as a major help in
the carrying out of her colossal bluff.
Now as she heard the whimpering of
the women, saw the crowd edg/i backward
away from her, she boldly rode into thfe
central dearing, abandoning any hope of
retreat. She knew the crowd would mass
around the open space, and if she were
found out, that wall of humanity would
SWO&D OF GIMSHAI
pprvfBt her from ever reaching the gate
After the habit of the Bambala, both the
prisoners and the loot gained in their attack
on Bob's safari were kept on display in the
clearing. The miserable bearers were
crowded into a foul, make-shift pen like
animals, and stacked near the enclosure
were the packs they once had carried.
The great feast and the ceremony of di-
viding the spoils which always followed a
battle triumph were being delayed until
Bob and Sheena were captured.
Sheena headed the elephant toward the
pen, wanting to free the prisoners and
march them out of the kraal before the
stunned tribesmen could collect their wits.
But suddenly two of the large cooking
fires in the clearing flickered into life. Yel-
low tongues of flame reached along the
edges of the dry wood which had been
thrown hastily on the coals. Sheena under-
stood then the purpose of the commands
that had sounded in the first uproar of her
entrance, for revealed in the mounting light
was a hollow square of armed guards
grouped about two men, the two most im-
portant men in the tribe.
One was Babuli, the immensely fat chief-
tain of the Bambala, a brutal, self-indulgent
tyrant. The other was Nyag-Nyag, a tall,
thin, one-eyed man with a hatchet face and
the hunched posture of a crouching weasel.
Nyag-Nyag was the Bambala witchdoc-
tor, and more than any ..other member of
the tribe, he had reason to hate Sheena, for
time and again the most potent magic he
could make against her had proved ineffec-
SHEENA instantly was disturbed when
she saw the two tribal leaders with the
ranks of hard-bitten guards ranged about
them. She certainly hadn't counted on their
presence. Improvising to meet this unex-
pected danger, she hastily ^changed her
plans and halted Tamba.
Gesturing contemptuously with her spear,
she cried, "Hai! So now I look upon the
two chief jackals!"
The elephantine Babuli clearly was more
shaken by her ghostly appearance than the
witchdoctor. "Why— why— Haft you come
here?" he asked weakly.
Sheena was silent for long, ominous mo-
ments. Then like the crack of a whip her
voice lashed him. "I come to take your soul
to ever-lasting torment! Even now, Gimshai
wrathfully awaits your coming!"
The mammoth chieftain stumbled back a
step, his great belly quivering. The harsh
confidence with which she spoke turned his
blood to ice.
"There is some terrible mistake," he
quavered. "Never by word or deed have I
shown disrespect for Gimshai! Aaiiee, he
is the greatest of gods! In all. the jungle,
no one has sent him more souls than Ba-
"It's too late to lie," Sheena said grimly.
"You honor but one god, N'Koto, god of
war, and it is he who has led you to your
downfall. Two suns ago you made a cow-
ardly attack upon the safari of one who
holds the special favor of Gtmshai. The
Taker of Souls reached out his hand and
saved this white man, saying for the de- ■
struction you had wrought you would pay
with your. life. And so I have come to exact
Babuli seemed to be choking. His eyes j
stood out like round, red marbles. Poisoned
by a lifetime of superstition, he felt that .
already the life-force was being sucked from !
his body, that the fluttering in his throat
was his soul struggling to escape.
"Talk to her! Appease her!' he gasped
to the witchdoctor. "You know more of
gods and demons than I do. Promise any-
thing — anything — if she will let me be."
With his one good eye, the witchdoctor
had been glaring at Sheena. He was not as
naive as Babuli, nor as superstitious as the
other tribesmen. He had practiced too mucin
trickery and deceit, pawned off too much ;
humbug as magic, to be taken in easily by
Sheena '$ tricks.
He sensed something familiar in this
ghostly intruder, noted also how she sought
to keep back out of the firelight. It seemed
to him that every time an especially high
leap of the flames lighted her mount that
its eerie blue-white glow disappeared.
Yet because he was both a cunning man
. and a coward, Nyag-Nyag proceeded with
He pushed trough the ranks of war-
riors, picked a blazing stick from the fire.
He lifted the torch high as though to clearly
lioht himself for Sheena's eyes.
^•Hear me, O One Who Walks the
Night," he said in a false, fawning voice.
"I make no plea for my worthless, unim-
portant self, but I do plead for the aobie
He edged nearer to Tamba as he talked,
narrowly watching the effect of the torch-
light on the elephant's glowing whiteness.
. "Never would Babuli knowingly offend
the dread Taker of Souls," he continued.
v If a wrong has been done by Babuli, he
stands ready to make any gifts, offerings
or sacrifices the god decrees. Intercede for
us, O Great One, and the Bambala will
honor you endlessly. Help us to right our
unmeant wrong? You have only to speak
and we will obey."
Relief surged through Sheena as she lis-
tened to Nyag-Nyag's abject beseeching.
The feeling that she had triumphed lessened
her wariness, so that she failed to divine
the witchdoctor's purpose in coming so
"Gimshai is merciful, as are bis serv-
ants," she said haughtily. "If you have the
courage to accompany me into the Blade ■
Hole of Death to plead your case before
the god himself, you may do so— remem-
bering that if you fail, there can be no
Nyag-Nyag seemed to debate before
muttering, "I have the courage."
. Sheena stared at him. "But you must ap-
proach Gimshai with dean hands." She ges-
tured at the BBprisooed bearers and stacked
loot. "You must give up the spoils of your
cowardly attack. You must free the beards
and give .them bade their arms and you must
furnish men to* carry these packs -to their
The huge-bellied chieftain, who had
been bathed in sweat as he waited for
Sheena's answer, literally shouted his ac-
ceptance of ber terms. He was concerned
wiffi his owo;«fety only, and cared not a
whit that he mignt be sending a largegroup
of tat followers to their death.
"All shall be as you say!" Babuli shouted
hoarsely, hot wanting to give the witch-
doctor time to back out of his bargain. Then
he turned to his guards in the same frOi
zied haste, crying, "Release the prisoners!
Gather men enough to carry the packs!
Quickly, you curs!"
But even as the chieftain spoke, Nyag-
Nyag sprang back away from Tamba, swirl-
ing the torch about his head. "No!" he
roared, "Let no man move." *
T3ABULI was so aghast that it took him
■*■* a moment to find his voice. His body
quivered in outrage at this treachery. "I am
chieftain here," he croaked.
"You're a fool, Babuli," snarled the
witchdoctor, "as blind and stupid a fool as
all these others!"
It was in Nyag-Nyag's mind that after
tonight he would never again have to bend
his knee to the fat chieftain. What he was
about to. do would make Babuli a laughing-
stock at the same time that it enhanced his
own reputation as a wizard.,
"Because I amuse, myself by toying with
this faker," the witchdoctor said, pointing
at Sheena, "don't take my acting seriously.
She is no demon, no servant or Gimshai."
"What are you saying?" squeaked the
chieftain, seeing his chances of salvation
being shattered before his eyes.
Nyag-Nyag laughed, thinly, baring bis
yellow teeth. ."I'm saying this supposed
demon is merely Ttotp Nomi, the Forest
Woman. I'm saying it takes more than chil-
dren's tricks to fool the jungle's greatest
Dismay had wrenched Sheena stiffly up-
right But her reaction was no different
from* that which shook Babuli and his
tribesmen. The witchdoctor's words had ex-
ploded with the violence of a thunderbolt.
"You madman!" wailed Babuli. "You'll
get us all killed. You know as well as I
that our warriors are pursuing Tioto Nomi
far across the jungle.
Nyag-Nyag had backed dose to the
guards. He tossed away his torch, took a
spear and shield from one of the blacks,*
Then he ran out into the open space be-
tween Sheena and' the warriors.
"Watch this test, my simple Babuli," he
sneered. "And you need not faint from
terror, because the risk falls on me alone."
His whole manner was supremely 1 confi-
dent "A thousand shields, would not pro-
tect mc from ft *.™«tf of Giroshai, because
such a servant would be able to kill with a
glance — a sign — a thought."
The ugly laughter bubbled from his lips
again. After tonight, his name would ring
through the jungle.
"But one shield is protection enough
against Tioto Norm," he said, "because her
only weapon is her spear. She has no magic
powers. Watch while I prove it! And stand
ready, guards, to strike her down when she
betrays herself by trying to use her one,
Sheena sat stupefied, a knot of panic grow-
ing and spreading in her breast. The cun-
ning, one-eyed dango had trapped her. She
sought -in futile desperation for some
means of escape, knowing full well that
the game was played out,
Nyag-Nyag was leaping and dancing in
front of her, always careful to protect him-
self behind the thick, heavy shield of rhino
hide. "Quickly, Tioto Nomi," he taunted,
"loose your terrible magic. Kill me with a
look! Kill me with a thought!"
A stifling hush gripped the kraal. In the
shadows around the central clearing, black
men crouched, afraid to breathe. Babuli
leaned forward, his face like gray paste, his
mouth hanging loosely open.
"Come, O Would-be Demon,"* the
prancing wizard jeered, "I wait for you to
strike. Why do you hesitate? You try my
patience, make me weary of this farce."
Sheena' s mouth was dust-dry. The death
she had sought to save Bob Rf illy from
was to. be hers. And now he was to be lost
to her finally and forever.
An ominous muttering stirred the watch-
ing blacks. Nyag-Nymg's ridicule was having
its effect. Already the guards were edging
forward, their Wads tightening on their
Sheens/ s own spear arm tensed. Her bluff
was finished. At Teat, she would take a few
of them with her. She gritted her teeth,
prepared to send Tamba charging into the
Nyag-Nyag's gloating laughter rang
high. "Hear me, Tioto Nomi," he shrilled.
"I spit on you and on your fathers! What
greater insult can one give?"
His pjunong and his high-pitched
jemrns were to* much for Tamba. The
huge bull elephant lifted his trunk and
trumpeted with ear-splitting violence. The
very air shivered with the raging sound.
Nyag-Nyag looked up startled. Then a
very strange thing happened. The hatchet-
faced wizard gave a queer backward leap as
though he had been struck a powerful blow.
His face twisted in agony and he staggered.
He let the spear drop from his fingers,
and the weight of the shield slowly drew
his left asm down to his side. His stringy]
muscles began jerking and twitching.
His single eye bulged with terror. Then
his long thin legs started to buckle. All at;
once his mouth strained wide and a great
wash of blood rushed from his lips.
That was the end. Nyag-Nyag toppled
forward on his face and lay stilt.
Tamba fell silent at almost that same
moment. It was unbelievable that a native]
kraal could be so still. And in that pro-
found hush, you could feel terror sweep like
a black wind over the stunned natives,
Sheena was as shocked as the tribesmen.
She stared blankly at the dead wizard. She
hadn't moved a muscle to harm him, yet
there lay the hated Nyag-Nyag, stiffening
What miracle was this? What invisible
power had reached out in her hour of need j
to strike down that human dango?
But the jungle girl was given no time to
dwell on that mystery. Babuli's hysterical
screams jolted her alert. The hog-fat chief-
tain had crumbled to his knees and was
beseeching her not to kill -him, not to blame
him for Nyag-Nyag's blasphemies. Tribes-
men all about the clearing were groveling
in abject terror.
They thought she bad slam the wizard!
SHE moved swiftly to take advantage of
the situation. Though so upset herself
that she could barely keep her voice from
trembling, Sheena sternly repeated the de-
mands she had made before. And this time
the prisoners were immediately freed and
Babuli's disarmed guards hurriedly loaded
themselves down with the stolen packs with
no thought of opposing Sheena.
Babuli collapsed in a blubbering heap,
but Sheena delegated four of the bearers
to prod him to his feet with their spears.
The remaining bearers she placed along
SWORD OF GIMSUAI
both sides of the pack-laden Bambala.
"Now trek," she shouted. "And any man
who causes trouble will join Nyag-Nyag
in his ever-lasting torment."
Her threat sent the column through the
kraal at a stumbling trot. All idea of re-
sistance was gone from the Bambala. As
she urged Tamba after the bearers, the
natives pressed their faces in the dirt, afraid
to look at her.
Once outside the kraal, she forged to the
head of the column, leading it back along
the trail toward where she had left Bob
Reilly. But before she had gone very far,
she heard a frantic chattering, saw an eerie,
glowing little figure come skittering down
the dim path toward her.
"Chim!" she cried in surprise, and with
a quick command, she had the elephant
swing the little ape up beside her.
Chim bounded into her arms, fairly sput-
tering with delight at finding his mistress
again. Then Shecna's keen ears heard an-
other sound. She looked up to see Bob ad-
vancing out of the darkness. Her initial
thought was that he might still be angry at
But there was unutterable relief, not
anger, in his voice as he exclaimed, "Thank
heavens you're out of that place at last!
You were crazy to take such a chance, but
it was the most wonderful thing I've ever
"You mean you saw what went on in the
kraal?" she asked, surprised.
"I not only saw — thanks to Chim, not
you," he said, "but I took a small part in
the proceedings. I'll frankly admit that I
could never have pulled off the bluff you
He told her then how when he reached
the kraal the witchdoctor had just begun
to taunt her. Since the natives were alt con-
centrated in die center of the village, he
was able to enter the gate unobserved. He
had* sneaked dose to the clearing, climbed
up on a pile of wood stacked beside a hut
With his pistol, he had blasted Nyag-
Nyag. The sound of the shot had been cov-
ered by Tamba's wrathful trumpeting. And
the unholy fear that had struck into the
Bambala when they saw their witchdoctor
die,' had kept them from suspecting that
any hand but Gimshai's had slain Nyag-
"So you were the one who saved me,"
she said wonderingly,
Bob laughed. "I believe I could say the
same for you."
They were a mile further down the trail
and the false dawn was graying the sky
when Sheena halted the elephant.
Bob sat behind her on the forest giant's
back. "What do we do now?" he asked.
She gave him a long, searching look.
"You will take Babuli and his guards with
you and see that they are punished. You'll
have no more trouble with the Bambalf,
so you can easily reach white man's country
with your records.''
"You — you — aren't going out with me?"
Bob was surprised and confused.
"This is my own land," she said, gestur-
ing toward the a*ark jungle with her hand.
"There are many things I can do to make
it a better land. I have found myself tonight,
as the old witchwoman once prophesied I
Her head lifted and she looked up at the
"But you can't stay here, a lone girl,"
said Bob. "I've grown very fond of you,
Sheena. I want you to go with me. I thought
that you and I . . ."
"Even if I wished it," she interrupted
him gently, "I could not go with you. I am
a priestess and more to the Abamas. They
have been awaiting the day when I would
be ready to lead them. And now I am
ready. It would mean your certain death if
you tried to take me away."
And so it was that a frowning, unhappy
man a few minutes later watched Sheena
ride away alone toward the Abama kraal.
He stood there with the soft warmth of her
good-bye kiss on his lips, vowing that
Abama warriors or not, he would be- back
as soon as his trek to the coast was finished.
Artwork from first and second
pages of story.